What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization has been around for such a long time, that almost everyone seems to know everything about it. Unfortunately, a lot of short-term courses (often as short as 20 hours), both online and offline, claim to infuse participants with the requisite skills and mastery for becoming SEO consultants.
It started as a single BIG thing, but we now know that SEO it is in fact, a lot of small things. Simply put, SEO is an ongoing intervention to improve and enhance your website, such that it improves its visibility (read page rank) on search engines result pages. This way, more and more visitors are prompted to visit your website.
The subsequent stages of the consumer journey – including the on-page experience, engagement levels, and conversions, are of course a different ballgame.
SEO is Not for Everyone!
Yes, first things first. Irrespective of what “experts” tell you, SEO is not for every business and every website.
Agreed that SEO can bring traffic to your website. Still, it might not be what your business needs. For example, a small florist, with a single outlet might not benefit from getting traffic on her website. In fact, she might not even need a website.
If you have a local business, like a tuition class, a gymnasium, or a small eatery, you might not need SEO. Only if your product or service lends itself to e-commerce, or if online ordering is possible; AND if you have the required distribution and fulfilment muscle, does your website warrant an SEO strategy.
Why Should You Consider SEO?
- Traffic Traffic Traffic
SEO helps a website get indexed and ranked by search engines. Consequently, it funnels relevant and qualified traffic to the website, which is the holy grail of digital marketing. This is where the consumer journey begins.
- Brand Recall
Being on top of the search engine results page for your business-relevant-keywords is great for your company. It is an informal vote of approval for your business/ website and its ability to offer the best information about the searched keywords. This proves to the prospects that you are an opinion leader for the topic.
- SEO Targets the Customers’ Interests
Unlike traditional marketing methods, SEO meets prospects midway by providing them a solution they are already looking for. Offering the right information, at the right time, also helps build your brand as a reliable and credible source.
- SEO Helps Promote Local Businesses
Some SEO tasks help refine websites such that search engines like Google can identify and promote the ones (service providers) that are geographically closest to the location of search.
For e.g., if a user searches for “SEO Agency” while he is in the Salt Lake area of Kolkata, (India), Google search results will show a list of relevant service providers (with their addresses, websites, locations on a Google map, and even their ratings) that are within an accessible radius.
- SEO Enhances Search Result Page Information
A well optimized website enables Google to pick up several relevant data points about the business, its reviews, backlinks, hours of operation, contact details, ratings on Facebook, etc. Search engines then use this data to populate their results page so that users get comprehensive information about the website on the search engine results page itself.
As discussed, SEO involves multiple activities and tasks. Some of which are one-time (like designing the website to carry clean codes and for being compatible with mobile devices), while others are ongoing (like adding quality content, weeding out duplicate content, and updating existing information).
Experience shows that website owners might need to tick more than 20 boxes to fully gear-up their website for optimum search engine performance. These are across parameters related to page structure, design, code, ease of navigation, quality of on-page content, keyword-usage, tags and titles, META content, back-links, blogs, and more.
Type of SEO
Strategically, companies can have two approaches to SEO. Organic and Inorganic. Let us look at these closely
- Organic SEO
Organic SEO or Natural SEO is the process of optimizing a website such that it becomes a natural choice for search engines, and gets ranked higher. This is the primary form of SEO, attracts 80% of search traffic, and does not need a huge recurring budget. Isn’t that music to the ears?
On the flip side, organic SEO takes longer to yield results because it involves various steps and validations against the parameters set by Google algorithms. However, it is worth all the wait, because the results are long-term and well-deserved.
Still, don’t let anyone lead you into guaranteeing a first rank on Google searches. Please don’t fall for those shams! Through dedicated and ongoing efforts like blogging, keyword optimization, and other enhancements, websites can continuously hold and improve their search engine performance.
- Inorganic SEO
Inorganic SEO or Paid SEO is the quick and effortless way to get your website rank high, higher, or even highest. The position is based on the amount of advertising money you are willing to pump in.
Platforms such as Google AdWords can be used to identify and shortlist keywords. Users can then build advertising campaigns by bidding for the selected keywords. They can also finetune and customize their ad performance and ad placement across the Google Advertisement Network (comprising the Search Network and Display Network).
The results of inorganic SEO are short-term. It works like a pre-paid account. Once the allocated budget is used up, the ads stop. The billing works in the form of PPC (pay-per-click), or PPI (pay-per-impression). Other forms of inorganic SEO are PPL (pay-per-lead), PPA (pay-per-action) and affiliate marketing.
Implementing Organic SEO Strategy
Here are some tips to prepare a plan of action and to get started with SEO (Organic) for your website
- Define your Target Audience
This step allows you to choose who sees your content. You will need deep behavioural insights about your TA. Intel about things like
- What are the keywords that they likely to search?
- How well can you zero-in on your TA’s geographic location?
- Demographic insights?
- What are the devices they would preference?
- List Targeted Keywords
Make a list of keywords relevant to your business, use the Google Keyword tool to compare their search volume and competition, and pick the ones you would want your business to rank for. Several tools like Ahrefs allow you to improve your search traffic, research your competitors and monitor your niche.
Remember to have a separate set of keywords for each of your products and services. You should also have a common set of keywords for the generic pages on your website.
- Write Keyword-rich On-page Content
Once you have a well-defined keyword list (ideally not more than five keywords per page), start including them while writing the web page content. Ensure that the content is written in a natural flow, without unnecessarily stuffing the keywords. Follow the White Hat SEO best practices.
Content Tip: Smart SEO writers create unique opportunities to embed keywords. Subtitles, Hyperlinks, CTAs are all great places to use keywords.
- Write META Content
For each page on your website, ensure that you create unique keyword-rich META content. This includes META Title and the META Description. Also use keywords while writing the ALT tags for the on-page images.
- Develop Opportunities for Ongoing Content Addition
Most websites are static. Which means, they are designed in a manner that does not allow end-users to add or update content. However, from the SEO perspective, it is highly recommended that fresh, unique, and quality content be regularly added to the website. One of the easiest ways to meet this requirement is to include a CMS (Content Management System) based blog on your website.
Various tabs like – Knowledge Bank, Articles, Learn With Us, Resources, In the News, are ideas for achieving this goal. One can regularly post engaging, keyword-rich content into these sections. Like for this website, we have sections like the portfolio, the blog, success stories, etc., that allow us to post regularly. This improves the chances of ranking higher in the results pages.
- Build More Links
Link-building, an off-page SEO technique, is another way search engines rank webpages. Collaborate with guest bloggers to link back to your website, share your blog posts on social networking sites. However, avoid sharing links with other businesses in exchange for their links – only link to relevant and associated content. Avoid spamming.
- Monitor and Improve
Maintaining SEO performance requires monitoring the traffic, qualified leads, keywords, inbound links, and more. Free platforms like Google Analytics can offer excellent and indepth insights about the SEO performance of your website. Keep Experimenting, Keep Exploring!
- Submit Your Website
Submit Your Website to Google – Simply Type “website submission” on Google to access this form
One of the key steps, to speed up the process of being discovered by search engines is to proactively submit your website (as against it being automatically indexed). This can be done manually, or by using free tools for submission. You will need the page URLs, keywords, category, and META content.
At LexiConn, our team of strategists have a deep understanding of digital marketing. We understand the needs of online marketers, based on which we create ideas for implementing the best SEO strategy for your business. We leverage our practical insights to formulate an effective plan that suits your business’ needs.
Contact us to know more and to invite us to develop a SEO strategy for your business.